The New Student's Reference Work/Martial, Marcus Valerius Martialis
Mar′tial, Marcus Valerius Martialis, one of the finest among the few Latin poets who did not borrow from the Greeks and the greatest of all epigrammatists in verse, was born at Bilbilis, Spain, March 1, 38 or 41 A. D. After studying at home he went to Rome, where Piso, Seneca and other leading men became his patrons. After 34 years in Rome the younger Pliny lent him money enough to go back to Spain, for which he was homesick. Here, at Bilbilis, a new patron gave him an estate on which, with its grove, fountain, vineyard, garden, fishpond and dovecote, he spent the remainder of his life comfortably. As an epigrammatist he remains without an equal. He lifts the veil from the Rome of the time of Domitian and shows it mainly on its seamy side, with a likeness to life not outdone by the engravings of Hogarth. Martial died in 104 A. D.